|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
Jan 9-13 – ACNA College of Bishops meeting in Florida
Jan 26 – Summit for Life, Washington, DC
May 11 – March for Life, Ottawa
June 26 – ACNA College of Bishops meeting, Wheaton, IL
June 27 – ACNA Provincial Council, Wheaton, IL
June 28-30 – ACNA Provincial Assembly, Wheaton, IL
ANiC Synod report
Good Shepherd Vancouver, with the help of volunteers from other ANiC churches in the area – especially St Matthias and St Luke's – beautifully hosted another Synod. Video of most sessions was live-streamed by Anglican TV and key sessions are now posted on YouTube.
Highlights of Synod included:
• Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali's four-part teaching from Colossians
• Bishop Charlie Masters' Charge to Synod
• Bishop Bill Atwood, the banquet speaker, offering encouraging insight into Anglican Communion events.
• Short reports from leaders of each of the five ministry priorities
Workshop Day leaders, Canons Phil Ashey and Steven Saul, wrote about the church revitalization workshop they led for ANiC immediately prior to Synod.
A special event to honour and celebrate the extraordinary Synod volunteers is planned for early December at Good Shepherd Vancouver.
Responding to inquiries from disillusioned Canadian Anglicans interested in ANiC
Over the past several months, ANiC has received a marked uptick in inquiries from disheartened orthodox Anglicans. In response, Bishop Charlie wrote an open letter assuring them of our prayers and readiness to support them whatever they decide. Earlier ANiC bishops responded to the actions of the Anglican Church of Canada General synod in July in beginning the process of changing its long-standing marriage canon.
Sons of the Holy Cross contemplative order founded
The Sons of the Holy Cross - which is modeled partially on the existing ACNA order Daughters of the Holy Cross - was recently founded by ANiC members in the Langley / Abbotsford, BC area. This contemplative order for men is focused on a five-fold rule of: study/ meditation, prayer, work (public service), sacraments and friendship. As with the Daughters of the Holy Cross, Bishop Don Harvey is the patron. The organizers welcome inquiries from others, including those interested in perhaps starting new chapters. The intention is to remain grassroots-driven, with loosely connected chapters, no bureaucracy and no fees. Please see the website for details and contact information.
The Rev Grady Buhler will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Trevor Walters on Sunday, December 18 at 4pm at St Timothy's (North Vancouver, BC). All are welcome to witness and celebrate with the people of St Timothy's and encourage Grady+ in this new stage of ministry.
Allan Tan will be ordained to the transitional diaconate on December 17 at 3pm, at Good Shepherd Vancouver. Bishop Stephen Leung will officiate; the Rev Sean Love will preach. All are welcome. After his ordination, Allan will serve Good Shepherd Vancouver as the assistant curate.
The joyful ordination of Deacon Iris Lau in October was witnessed by more than 110 people – including the congregation of Good Shepherd (Calgary), ANiC clergy from Alberta, and pastors and laity from non-ANiC churches. Iris serves Good Shepherd Calgary as honorary assistant curate.
Senior pastor position open
Immanuel Church (Vancouver, BC) is accepting applications for the position of senior pastor. Full details are available on the church website.
Supporting your local church with year-end giving
As the end of the year approaches, many church communities are seeing red… and it's not just the poinsettias! Please be generous in supporting the ministry of your local church as you consider your year-end giving. Why? Giving to the work of God helps break our bondage to money and materialism; it reminds us that our security comes from God, not possessions. It focuses us on what is important: partnering in God's work of building His kingdom. And it teaches our hearts to treasure the things of God and the community of faith.
Corrected December 2016 prayer calendar
A corrected prayer calendar for December is posted on the ANiC website. (Sorry!)
Memoir recounts triumph over horrific evil – by God's grace and strength
Archdeacon Ron Corcoran has written a compelling autobiography which is available from Amazon or, better, directly from Ron+. The title says it all: Deliver Us From Evil: The Remarkable True Story of a Child's Abuse, Spiritual Deception, Deliverance and Ultimate Redemption. Bishop Trevor Walters writes, "Ron's childhood was unremitting evil. It is compelling reading… It is miraculous that someone could come through so much adversity and yet be able to have had a successful ministry... I could not put the book down. This is epic and needs to be read by everyone; it is shocking and remarkable. God has redeemed his life." Another reviewer says, the "…memoir is not a woeful lament but a celebration of redemption, composed thoughtfully and showing a profound sense of gratitude."
Bishop Charlie writes: "I highly commend to you Archdeacon Ron Corcoran's most recent book Deliver us from Evil. You will find it is a powerful testament to the glorious grace of our Lord. I hope you get a copy and read it. As you do, please realize that, although this compelling, well-written memoir by necessity contains disturbingly dark pages because that was his true experience, it is written very sensitively with the focus clearly on perseverance, redemption, healing, hope and forgiveness in Jesus. I am sure that many will receive from the Lord much healing that they themselves require even as they read of the Lord's ministry so wonderfully received by Archdeacon Ron as recorded in this powerful book."
Wounded Healers Ministry Canada set to launch
After being commissioned by Bishops Charlie and Trevor at Synod, ANiC's Archdeacon Ron Corcoran is launching a new ministry and accepting invitations to teach in parishes on healing and wholeness. His teaching draws from Isaiah 53 and 61 and his personal experience. You can contact Archdeacon Ron and order books via his website. You can also see reviews on Amazon.
Asian and Multicultural Ministries (AMMiC) news
The Two Generation Leadership Conference on Honouring Your Parents: God's Word, Cultural Heritage and Christian Community was well received by the 90 attendees. The two keynote speakers – The Rev Dr David Pao and The Rev Dr Pakon Cha – ably dealt with the "two generation" issue which particularly affects ethnic churches with largely immigrant congregations – ie While the younger generation is fluent in English and comfortable with Canadian culture, the older generation is not, creating problems in the church. The advisory committee is currently discerning the next steps for the two generation ministry. Watch for information.
AMMiC would like to thank the Very Rev Archie Pell for his service to God as he retires from his role as Dean of Multicultural Ministries. Please see the AMMiC Website for details about the thanksgiving dinner on December 4.
Biblically grounded conference sessions available online
You can listen to sessions from the enthusiastically-received God's Word Written: The Truthfulness, Dependability, and Power of the Bible conferences – on apologetics and expository preaching.
• Listen to all the presentationsfrom the apologetics conference.
• Listen to or watch all sessions of Dr John Neufeld's teaching on expository preaching.
Pacific Rim mission trip planned for March
A Pacific Rim Christian Pilgrimage mission trip, led by the Rev Shihoko & Ken Warren, is planned for March 2017. It will include visits to Japan, Hong Kong and Macau, highlighting historically important sites where Christians were persecuted and martyred. Everyone in ANiC is welcome to join the pilgrimage. Details of dates and itinerary will not be available until the end of December. However, you can mark your calendar now and watch for more information.
New ARDFC projects – in Cuba and Haiti
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC) has launched a new development project, this time in partnership with the ACNA church plants in Cuba. We are raising the funds needed for these churches to purchase a van which will not only meet their transportation needs (see photo!) but also will provide a way to generate revenue and thus reduce the churches' dependence on outside donations. For more information, see the ARDFC website. This project will have special appeal to the many ANiC churches already partnering with these Cuban church plants.
In response to the devastation brought by Hurricane Matthew, ARDFC also launched an emergency appeal to help rebuild the lives of those most affected in Haiti. Our partner in this is Compassion Canada which has a long-standing track-record oin Haiti of helping children and their families rise above the constraints of poverty.
ARDFC thanks all who generously gave to our just-completed project in Burundi where we partnered with the Diocese of Muyinga to improve the standard of living, the environment and nutrition through agro-forestry, providing seeds and goats (pictured), and training in sustainable farming. You can see photos and a recent progress report from the Diocese, detailing how it is investing the funds we raised to address these pressing needs in its community.
Anglicans for Life news
The issues of abortion and physician assisted suicide are difficult to discuss, and even more traumatic to experience. Anglicans for Life Canada (AFLC) is able to equip your congregation with resources on these and other life issues. The following are particularly helpful:
The eight-week AFLC Project Life Program would make an excellent Lenten Study. It explores, biblically and practically, the culture of death vs the Gospel; abortion; post-abortion; adoption; abstinence; euthanasia; and stem cell research, and explores practical ways to uphold the sanctity of human life. The package includes a user-friendly leader's guide – which includes weekly DVD, reflection and discussion guides – and easy-to-use participant guides. For more information and to order, email AFLC National Director Vicky Hedelius+ or call (905) 220-0292.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has helpful resources on both euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Its latest is a DVD, The Euthanasia Deception, which explains the 'slippery slope' through documented cases from Belgium. Information is online. The Compassionate Community Care Hotline, 1-855- 675-8749, is available to anyone in crisis or in immediate need of information, 24/7.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has published an excellent free online resource: Euthanasia + Palliative Care: A Guide for Canadians.
ANiC parish and regional news
Blackburn Hamlet Community Church, (Ottawa, ON) which has a great new website, is offering monthly Discovery Cafes with an expert lecturer on various topics of general interest. Typically these evenings attract 15-30 people. They write, "All in all it is an attractive way in which to draw others from beyond into our store-front church."
Blackburn Hamlet reports 52 people participated in the recent celebrations of the church's eighth anniversary – quite a jump from the 8-10 people who planted the church.
The Open Gate (Victoria, BC) hosted a Bible-in-a-Day seminar presented by Sean Love+ and Allan Tan on November 19. This seminar is a great way to get a big picture overview of God's Word. To register, visit Open Gate's website.
The Table (Victoria, BC) reports that 60 adults have committed to participating in a new Gospel leadership training process called Kaleo. Discipling these new leaders should help relieve the load on the clergy and advance the Gospel. However, The Table needs to raise significant financial assistance to make this a reality.
Messiah (Ottawa, ON) offers a ministry to university students at the University of Ottawa called Church on Wednesday. The ministry got off to a great start in September with more than 100 people participating each week – including many unfamiliar with Christianity.
Ryle Seminary,which is associated with the Church of the Messiah in Ottawa, offers courses to educate students for effective Christian ministry – whether clergy or laity. In January, it is offering an intensive course in Christian Apologetics as well as regular evening and Saturday classes. A conference for local area pastors is planned for May;
The Gospel Coalition Canada (TGCC) – of which Canon George Sinclair, rector of Messiah (Ottawa), is a founding member – has a new executive director, Wyatt Graham. TGCC plans to launch a website in January and hold a national conference in 2018.
Grace Anglican Church (Mississippi Mills, ON) has joined forces with its host church, Almonte Baptist, to reach the wider community by offering the Alpha program. Currently 17 attend. Grace holds its services in the Baptist Church building as well as partners with the host congregation in local mission and outreach programs. On Tuesday afternoons Grace hosts Keenagers, a seniors' gathering offering fellowship, food and fun. Please uphold Grace in prayer.
St Luke's (Pembroke, ON) rejoiced in the baptism of one baby, two children and one adult on October 23. A Confirmation Sunday is planned for November 27 with Bishop Charlie Masters. The St Luke's youth group is growing – from four kids last fall to 12 now. Praise the Lord!
Saint Matthew's (Abbotsford, BC) is finished its Year of Prayer on November 20 with a time of prayer and fasting. They wrote: "The focus for our praying during this period of time will be on God's provision and instruction for a place of worship and ministry of our own. We are seeking God for a new home for Saint Matthew's Anglican Church."
Saint Matthew's School of Life and Ministry is offering a variety of Saturday and evening courses in the New Year including: Catechism, Experiencing the reality of God in our lives, and apologetics.
Saint Matthew's is offering a free, one year Sunday School curriculum, available for download from the church's website.
Church of All Nations, Japanese (Vancouver, BC) recently received a donation from Seibo Christ Church in Japan (the Rev Shihoko Warren's home church in Japan), specifically for the church's New Eden Ministry to purchase farm land in the future. They were inspired by the vision of the New Eden Ministry.
St Peter and St Paul's (Ottawa, ON) is excited to welcome Canon Brent Stiller as its new rector at the end of January. But this means that the people of New Song (Port Perry, ON) will have to say good-bye to their long-time rector and his family and begin the search for a successor.
A Place to Go, a drop-in and meal ministry of St Peter and St Paul's, is open Friday nights.
St Peter's Fireside (Vancouver, BC) held its first Confirmation service at the end of August with six confirmed. To accommodate future growth, the church is now offering two Sunday morning services. They write, "We cherish your prayers as we make room for more people, especially those who have not yet encountered the Lord."
St Peter's also recently launched a website to archive its Equip & Build Christian formation ministry sessions from the past few years. You'll find a fascinating array of topics engaging tough questions, under the broad headings of Theology, Bible, Christian Life, & Church History. It's worth exploring!
Cornerstone (Regina, SK) is now meeting at the French Canadian Association of Regina, Carrefour des plaines, 3850 Hillsdale St, Regina.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)
For 2017, ACNA produced a liturgical calendar which, unfortunately, sold out within hours of its release. There is a possibility of a second print run.
Life Summit 2017
You are invited to participate in Life Summit 2017, on January 26-27, at Falls Church, VA, held in conjunction with the March for Life in Washington, DC.
ANCA's church planting ministry, Always Forward has launched a podcast.
ACNA's Provincial Assembly
Everyone is invited to ACNA's Provincial Assembly, June 28-30 in Wheaton, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). Archbishop Foley Beach writes: "I am calling this Assembly to gather the whole Church in the United States, Canada and Mexico to celebrate God's goodness to us as a Province and to call us to our theme: "Mission on Our Doorsteps"… the mission field is truly all around us… I want us all to be equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit for this missional opportunity that we are being given by God!" Read his full letter of invitation.
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCon) & Anglican Communion news
We now know that GAFCon 2018 will be held in Jerusalem and the dates are Sunday June 17 to Friday June 22, 2018.
GAFCon has a very nice new website where you can read past letters from the Chairman in which he discusses developments within GAFCon, but also in the Anglican Communion. He discusses:
||His disappointment with the actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his failure to uphold the decisions taken by the Primates at their meeting in Canterbury last January, and in the Church of England House of Bishops in their failure to resist false teaching
||The problem of "liberal" western churches strategically using their money to attempt to compromise Global South Provinces, dioceses and bishops and GAFCon's response – the first – and very well received – GAFCon Bishops' Training Institute Conference for newly consecrated bishops held in Nairobi. These conferences are designed to equip bishops "to be courageous and discerning guardians of the faith".
Archbishop Peter Jensen – former Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and current General Secretary of the GAFCon Primates Council – has written a short piece on what he has discovered about the importance of the Anglican Communion. He concludes: "… through GAFCON the Anglican Communion can be what it was designed to be – a fellowship of many different peoples united in the truth of God's Word."
ACNA's Bishop Bill Atwood reports that more than 150 people – including 16 archbishops and many bishops – from 20 Provinces gathering in early October for the 6th Anglican Global South Conference, hosted by Archbishop Mouneer Anis in Cairo, Egypt. He reports that this conference has united the Biblically faithful, orthodox majority in the Anglican Communion unlike anything in the past. Where once personality conflicts and differences in strategy prevented effective unity, now GAFCon and Global South leaders are in strong agreement, thanks in large part to the work of Archbishop Anis. In addition, "the gathering overwhelmingly approved Enhanced "Ecclesial Structures" for the Global South." Bishop Atwood concludes, "Now, there is a coalition of something like 90% of the world's active Anglicans who are pursuing that Gospel together. It is the broadest and most hopeful thing I have seen in Anglicanism in the last thirty years."
Our Primate, Archbishop Foley Beach, was a full participant at the event and, in fact, was elected to be member of the Global South Steering Committee. Bishop Trevor Walters represented ANiC at the conference.
A communique produced by the conference – at which our Primate Archbishop Foley Beach was elected to the Global South Steering Committee – covers a range of important topics. After discussing the ecclesial deficit and inability of the existing Instruments of Communion – including the Archbishop of Canterbury – to discern truth and error and discipline Provinces and leaders that have abandoned the biblical and historic faith, it announces the formation of a task force to recommend a response from the Global South. The implicit suggestion is that, should the Church of England also walk away from historic Christian teaching, the Global South would be prepared to assume leadership in providing alternative structures to maintain unity of the faithful in the Anglican Communion. The conference also issued a joint statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council on same-sex union/marriage.
For those wishing to learn more about this historic conference, Anglican Mainstream has amassed a list of links to reports, photos and media coverage.
GAFCon UK presented to the conference a paper on the Anglican Communion's teaching on human sexuality – encapsulated in Lambeth 1:10. It also documented breaches of this standard within the Church of England – with names. Ironically, while the LGBT lobby immediately and loudly cried foul, suggesting the document was intended to "name and shame", they immediately set up a website for Anglican clergy to publicly register their names as proud violators of Lambeth 1:10. And a Church of England spokesperson issued a longish response which downplays the importance of Lambeth 1:10 and insists it has no "binding legal force" on the CoE or any Province.
Commenting on the furor, Canon Andrew Gross, speaking on behalf of GAFCon, said, "There was never any intention to 'name and shame' individuals. How could there be? The document lists public actions taken by individuals who are very proud of what they have been doing. In many of these cases, these activists were actively courting the media in order that their violations of Lambeth 1.10 would have the greatest possible impact." GAFCon UK also, in response to critics, has released a concise explanation and defense of the paper.
You can read more on Anglican Ink. The Anglican Unscripted commentators discuss how this incident has been blown out of proportion and is driving a wedge between orthodox CoE members. Do pray for the orthodox in the CoE.
Anglican Ink reports that "The Archbishop of Canterbury has quietly asked the primates of the Anglican Communion to reserve the week beginning Monday, October 2, 2017 for the next primates meeting."
According to the Global South 6th Conference communique, both Chile – currently part of the Province of South America – and Sudan – currently part of the Province of Sudan and South Sudan – will soon become separate Provinces in the Anglican Communion.
Lambeth Palace has announced that "The Bishop of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, is to become the Archbishop of Canterbury's new adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs.
Provinces that defy Anglican Communion teaching and change their marriage canons to conform to western cultural pressures will not experience any real discipline, the Primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his synod. He said he had been assured by Archbishop Justin Welby that that their bishops would be invited by Canterbury to the next Lambeth Conference.
Canon Phil Ashey argues we are in a crisis similar to those facing the Anglican Communion in the 1860s and the Church in the Middle Ages, and emergency action is required.
Archbishop of Canterbury under the microscope
Anglican Unscripted commentators discuss the Anglican Communion and the growing disenchantment with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Canon Phil Ashey explains the concern with both Canterbury and the direction of the Church of England: They seem to believe that the Church must sacrifice the clarity and authority of the bible on moral issues to appeal to post-modern people. Canon Ashey also wrote that it is not our relationship to Canterbury that defines us as Anglicans. Rather, "…Our Churches are "Anglican" only insofar as they propagate that Catholic and Apostolic faith and order that we find according to the Holy Scriptures and shared by all Christians at all times and in all places… Canterbury is only as helpful as he is faithful to our shared Apostolic, Biblical and Reformed Catholic roots."
International news in brief
Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) General Synod – The ACoC has had an eventful summer and fall. General synod began with a pledge by some theologically conservative bishops to remain in the ACoC regardless of the outcome of the same-sex marriage vote. The vote itself was rife with drama. First, it was announced that the motion to provisionally change the marriage canon was lost by one vote. Immediately, outraged bishops who supported the change declared they would move quickly to implement same-sex marriage within their own dioceses in defiance of general synod. Then, shockingly, the following day it was announced that that the vote had been reversed due to a ballot coding/tabulation error. Although the change to the marriage canon technically must pass a second reading at General Synod 2019, before they can take effect, the bishops who had early declared they would proceed immediately, stood by their announcements even though the vote had been overturned.
Following general synod, a group of bishops issued a statement publicly dissenting from the vote to press on with changing the marriage canon, saying it was contrary to God's Word written, imperiled communion within the ACoC and with Anglicans globally, and didn't provide adequate protection for dissenters. However, the bishops reaffirmed their commitment to the ACoC. The statement was signed by Bishop Stephen Andrews (Algoma, now Principal of Wycliffe College); Bishop David Parsons (Arctic), Suffragan Bishop Darren McCartney (Arctic), Bishop Fraser Lawton (Athabasca), Bishop William Anderson (Caledonia), Bishop Michael Hawkins (Saskatchewan), Bishop Larry Robertson (Yukon) and, as a late addition, Bishop David Edwards (Fredericton). Prior to General Synod, the diocese of the Arctic had issued a memorial, passed at the diocesan synod in May, declaring its firm commitment to maintaining the historic Christian and Biblical view of marriage.
Similarly, the ACoC's three indigenous bishops issued their own statement condemning the same-sex marriage vote and saying that they now intend to "proceed towards self-determination with urgency." To help get indigenous Anglicans onboard, the November Council of General Synod (CoGS) meeting decided to translate documents prepare earlier for the ACoC offering a rationale for same-sex marriage. Ironically, "National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald said that while he supported the motion, CoGS needed to be aware that many Indigenous communities don't even have such basic liturgical resources as the Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Alternative Services in their own language."
A number of bishops – particularly those in larger dioceses – have made it clear they intend to implement same-sex marriage quickly, rather than wait until General Synod 2019 when the final decision on changing the marriage canon will be brought to a vote. Archbishop Hiltz has said he understands the motivation for not waiting and will not attempt to prevent it. The dissenting bishops disagree; to quote the Anglican Journal: "The bishops also say that the declared intentions on the part of some bishops to immediately proceed with same-sex marriages, before the required second vote on the resolution in 2019, is "contrary to the explicit doctrine and discipline set out in our constitution, canons and liturgies."
For those wishing to further understand the state of affairs in the ACoC, the following articles are particularly helpful:
• An Anglican Journal article on the chaos and disunity left in the wake of general synod
• An Anglican Planet article providing an overview of this divisive general synod
In September, the ACoC Diocese of Toronto elected three new suffragan bishops, including a same-sex married man. Bishop-elect Kevin Robertson is quoted on the diocese's website saying "It's no secret that I'm the first openly gay, partnered bishop-elect in the diocese and perhaps in the Canadian church… I think General Synod (in July) was a turning point for the national church and my election today is a turning point for our diocese, and I'm honoured to be a part of that. I'm really encouraged by the developments over the past couple of months – both General Synod and today bode really well for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of our church."
The Living Church reports that three Toronto-area ACoC priests wrote a letter of protest to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the College of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. The Anglican Journal also covered the story with added interviews.
ACoC news in brief
Bishop William Anderson cancelled an electoral synod for the Diocese of Caledonia, planned for last month after receiving a complained about process.
The Anglican Journal reports that "Archbishop John Privett, who has served as metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon since 2009, has been unanimously re-elected for another seven-year term."
Bishop Robert Bennett of the Diocese of Huron retired November 1. Suffragan Bishop Linda Nicholls succeeded him.
Bishop Patrick Yu, suffragan bishop for York-Scarborough in the Diocese of Toronto, will retire January 15.
Trinity Western University (Langley, BC) won major freedom-of-religion decisions in Nova Scotia's Court of Appeals and British Columbia's Court of Appeal but lost in Ontario. Charles Lewis, writing in the National Post, discusses the concerns which revolve around TWU's community covenant restricting sex to Christian marriage and the Law Societies in these provinces' assumption that graduates of TWU's proposed school of law would therefore be unfit to practice law.
Bishop Edward Salmon died in June. He preceded Bishop Mark Lawrence as bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina while it was still part of the US Episcopal Church.
With Archbishop Hector (Tito) Zavala's term in office at an end, Archbishop Greg Venables was elected once again as Primate (obispo presidente) of the Anglican Church of South America. During his previous tenure, he and his province, which was then known as the Southern Cone, offered membership and godly episcopal oversight to ANiC bishops. This enabled ANiC to become an ecclesial organization and marked the beginning of a deep and affectionate relationship between ANiC members and ++Greg. You can watch an Anglican TV interview with ++Greg.
Earlier this year, Bishop Paul Bayes (Liverpool) appointed a US Episcopal Church (TEC) bishop, Bishop Susan Goff (Virginia), as a honourary assistant bishop in his diocese. Because Bishop Goff had voted to change TEC's marriage canon, this was seen as a provocation, "bringing the conflicts that have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion into the heart of this diocese". So the Diocese of Akure in Nigeria severed its long-standing relationship with the Diocese of Liverpool. Global South Primates and Provinces are growing increasingly wary of the Church of England (CoE), with incidents like this demonstrating the extent to which revisionism has taken hold.
Shared Conversations, the official CoE process of discussing changes to the historic Biblical standard of marriage, concluded earlier this year. The process was sadly lacking Scriptural content and was seen as designed to focus on unity at the expense of truth. 72 members of General Synod wrote the House of Bishops a public letter in which they stated, "…we believe this was of an initial nature only and that much more biblical study is needed before we will be able as a Synod to make theologically informed decisions about human anthropology and sexuality. In particular we believe it is essential to clarify what it means to 'honour God with our bodies' (1 Corinthians 6v20) in order that we do not find ourselves praying for God's blessing on that which is contrary to His will." Another group of 32 General Synod members issued a public statement expressing their "lack of confidence in the process of the Shared Conversations."
With Shared Conversations over, the CoE set up a Bishops' Reflection Group to continue the discussion on homosexuality and church practice. This drew fire from both GAFCon, which stated the Bible is clear on the matter, and LGBT activists complaining about lack of representation.
Split inevitable? Earlier, the Archbishop of Canterbury's chief of staff had said publicly that a split in the CoE may be unavoidable. The Telegraph reported that "A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England… with the creation of a new "shadow synod" vowing to uphold traditional teaching." About a dozen churches were reported to be forming what could develop into "an alternative Anglican church in England. Organisers, drawn from the conservative evangelical wing of Anglicanism, say they have no immediate plans to break away - but are setting up the "embryonic" structures that could be used to do so if the established church moves further in what they see as a liberal direction." It is not clear if this group is part of the GAFCon-affiliated Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) which intends to plant 250 new Anglican churches in the UK, independent of CoE structures and particularly in the territory of revisionist dioceses.
The Bishop of Grantham, Nicholas Chamberlain, who was consecrated a year ago, was "outed" to the media (by GLBT allies wishing to use him for their own ends). He admitted to The Guardian he was in a same-sex relationship but said he remained celibate, in accordance with church guidelines. However, he stated, his identity was as a gay man. In response, the GAFCon Primates issued a statement saying his appointment was an error due to the secrecy surrounding it. They also said, "We remain opposed to the guidelines for clergy and Bishops, permitting them to be in same sex relationships as long as they publicly declare that the relationship is not sexual. This creates confusion in terms of the church's teaching on the nature of sex and marriage, and it is not modelling a helpful way to live, given the reality of our humanity, and temptation to sexual sin." The Rev Canon Dr Gavin Ashenden explains on BBC why it is a problem when a bishop (or anyone) defines his or her identity by their sexual preferences, rather than as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Ian Paul expressed a very different view. The Anglican TV commentators, discussing the situation, distinguish between abstinence and celibacy.
Anglican Ink reports that when His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, met with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury at the Lambeth Palace in London in October, Patriarch Kirill expressed concern over the liberalization of the Church of England's teaching on church order and morality. A Telegraph article explores the degree to which the secular view of same-sex unions has overtaken the corridors of power within the Church of England.
In the summer, the Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod approved a change to the Church's canon on marriage. In response, the Scottish Anglican Network stated, "…Some of us will need to consider what future can be had in a church which is abandoning its claim to being part of the one holy Catholic and apostolic church… We now ask for the orthodox leaders of the Anglican Communion to stand with us and pray for us as we discern what the next steps should be." GAFCon Primates have written stating their willingness to "provide episcopal oversight for Scottish Episcopalians who believe that this… vote by the Church's General Synod in favour of same-sex marriage is unbiblical."
The Guardian reports that "A growing number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity…"
Bishop Andudu Elnail (Diocese of Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains) of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan has demanded the release of four men, including three imprisoned pastors, held in detention in Sudan by national security agents. He accused the government of a deliberate persecution policy aimed at uprooting Christians from the country.
Several recent reports document how Christians in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states are targets of systematic and widespread ethnic cleansing by the Sunni Muslim government. "The report states that the government of Sudan has been using non-violent, administrative measures, coupled with military action, to accomplish its mission. It says the Sudanese military has bombarded civilian villages and agricultural land, hampered the planting of crops and forced people to live in caves." Open Doors reports that "…government forces, especially the air-force, have been attacking civilians consistently for years… Amnesty International documented the bombing of hospitals, schools, IDP camps and relief organisations."
A new report reveals the depth of corruption, finding that a very few people in South Sudan control the majority of its economy and are profiting from the conflict. Top officials from both warring factions who are responsible for mass atrocities in South Sudan have used the civil war to accumulate fortunes, despite modest government salaries.
The Church in South Sudan has been actively and aggressively pursuing peace in its nation, organizing mass ecumenical prayer services and even wearing sackcloth to call for repentance, and beg God to forgive the war-torn country.
Warning that genocide was a real possibility in South Sudan, Archbishop Daniel Deng told a UN Security Council delegation that more peacekeeping forces are needed.
A new Primate has been installed; Archbishop Masimango Katanda (Bishop of Kindu) succeeds Archbishop Henri Isingoma.
Since 2014, a relatively unknown Islamist terrorist group has killed more than 1000. World Watch Monitor reports that the "Allied Democratic Forces – National Association for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) has been trying to uproot Christians from the north-east area of DRC through attacks, rape, looting, kidnap and murder – on an almost weekly basis."
21 of the 276 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls have been released by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram following negotiations – which are said to be ongoing.
The Diocese of Akure (Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion) severed its long-standing partnership with the Diocese of Liverpool in the Church of England when the later made a US Episcopal Church bishop from the Diocese of Virginia, an assisting bishop in Liverpool.
Archbishop Martin Blaise Nyaboho is the new Primate, succeeding Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi.
To the chagrin of the Primate, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has decidedly rejected same-sex blessings.
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe are facing drought, crop failure, famine and starvation. Hundreds are said to have perished already.
Just for fun
If you can start the day without caffeine, If you are always cheerful, If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it, If you are understanding when your loved ones are too busy for you, If you never treat a rich friend better than a poor friend, If you face the world without lies and deceit, then you are probably the family dog!
"I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church."
- Charles Spurgeon
And now a Word from our Sponsor
Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD!
Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!
The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 113 ESV
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